Double Down on Networking – Especially If You Are Looking For a Job
Networking is your competitive advantage as a mature worker – you have 30 or 40 years more experience and connections than a new young employee has. So learn to take advantage of it.
The Biggest Mistake the Unemployed Professional Makes
Our profession is in many ways our identity – one of the characteristics of our generation. When we lose our job, a part of our heart and soul goes with that lost job. We are wounded, stunned, unsettled, and become unsure of our worth. The natural reaction is to withdraw, retreat to our cave or safe place, metaphorically hunker down and protectively wrap our arms around ourselves and our egos as we suffer in pain and anxiety.
If this is you, you probably don’t know what to say to a former colleague you meet on the street or at an event. You no longer have a business card to offer. When someone asks the inevitable question “What do you do?”, you feel uncomfortable and stammer something about looking into new opportunities or just blurt out that you were laid off and are looking for a job. Awkward! You don’t have $200 to spare for your annual association membership, and hate to pay $35 for a speaker luncheon at a networking event.
As a result, almost all unemployed professionals make the exact same mistake. They withdraw from networking when they should be doubling down on networking. In fact, networking should be their number one job search strategy for anyone who is unemployed.
Networking Is the Solution For Anyone Looking For a Job
- As a rule of thumb, it takes 1 month per each $10,000 of desired salary to successfully find a job
- That means that if you hope to earn $50,000 per year, you should expect to spend 5 months looking for a job.
- If you are shooting for a $100,000 job, plan to be job hunting for 10 months.
- However, by effectively leveraging your personal and professional network, you can cut that time down by half!
We know that half of all jobs are found through networking. And we also know that networking is even more important the older you are and the higher your desired salary.
This means you should invest at least half of your time and effort in networking, and preferably more. Keep reading to learn tips and techniques for networking at any age.